The Green Bay Packers were eliminated from the NFC playoff race and secured their second consecutive losing season with a 24-17 loss at Chicago last week, a defeat that also dropped them to 0-7 on the road. They will try to avoid a winless season away from Lambeau Field by heading to MetLife Stadium and taking on the 4-10 New York Jets.
Basics on the Jets
New York went head-to-head with the hottest team in the NFL, pushing the Houston Texans to the limit in a 29-22 loss at home, where they are 2-5. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold played well enough, completing 24 of 38 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 100.0, his best game since Week 6. The Jets came back from a 16-3 deficit to take a 22-19 lead with five minutes left, but allowed Houston to score 10 points in the final 2:15.
Head coach Todd Bowles is a defensive-minded head coach who runs a 3-4 scheme under defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. Rodgers is a former defensive line coach who worked under minds such as Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips.
Under first-year offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, the Jets run a West Coast-style offense relying on short, timing throws and some catch-and-run from the receivers. Ideally, the Jets would like to set up the passing game with a strong rushing attack.
Touchdowns-to-interceptions difference by rookie QB Sam Darnold (14 TD, 15 INT).
Total catches by receiving leader Robby Anderson.
Total rushing yards by active team leader Elijah McGuire. Top rusher Isaiah Crowell (685) and Bilal Powell (343) are on injured reserve.
Players to watch
Sam Darnold, QB
Just 21 years old, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft became the starter in Week 4 and hasn’t looked back. As most might expect, he has been uneven, completing just 56.7 percent of his passes and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. But he has four multi-touchdown games and at times flashes the tools that made the Jets feel he can be their franchise quarterback.
Jordan Jenkins, LB
Jenkins has started only nine games but has played in all 14, and the third-year linebacker out of Georgia is having a career season with 14 quarterback hits, seven sacks and six tackles for loss. He also has forced two fumbles and recovered two. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 259-pound veteran has been one of the defense’s few consistent contributors.
Trumaine Johnson, CB
One of the biggest free-agent signings in the offseason, the Jets inked the cover corner to a 5-year, $72.5 million deal. He missed five games in the middle of the season, but the 6-2, 213-pounder has been as good as advertised when healthy. He has four interceptions and five passes defensed — the four picks being the most he’s had since 2015. He also has scored off one of his interceptions, giving him four career touchdowns.
Reasons to worry
At this point, the status of Aaron Rodgers and his injured knee and groin is unknown. If he doesn’t play and backup DeShone Kizer makes his first start since capping the Cleveland Browns’ 0-16 campaign of 2017, it’s fair to wonder just how the Packers' offense will operate. Kizer has turned it over when he plays, as he fumbled and threw an interception in his only game action of Week 1 after throwing a league-high 22 picks last year. And Aaron Jones sprained his MCL against the Bears, so it’s likely they will be without their most explosive running back. Oh, and the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs, so there is nothing to play for.
Reasons to relax
They are the Jets, and they are bad. Head coach Todd Bowles is reportedly on the hot seat and they too are playing out the string. They have no running game to speak of and no real pass catchers that scare you. They don’t rush the passer well and are one of the worst offenses (No. 30) and defenses (No. 22) in football. Even if Kizer plays, it’s not like he’s inexperienced — so even a conservative approach could yield a victory.
Did you see this?
This is where the Jets are, and have been.